More workers’ comp bills filed

first_imgMore workers’ comp bills filed A massive rewrite of Florida’s workers’ compensation system in a legislative special session last summer has paved the way for more bills in the 2004 Regular Session that began March 2.Some of that effort is expected follow-up to last year’s legislation, including a bill on how rates are set. But lawmakers are also looking at a financial crisis in the Joint Underwriting Association, the state-sponsored pool for businesses that can’t get private insurance, and at other repercussions of the bill.The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee in December released an interim report on last year’s bill. The report recommended changes in last year’s legislation, and also compared changes in some benefits and in plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees with other states, but make no proposals in those areas.Last year’s bill, among other changes, cut both worker benefits and payments to their attorneys for certain types of work. Bar Workers’ Compensation Section Chair Dennis Smejkal recently told the Board of Governors plaintiffs’ attorneys will be able to take only the cases of the most severely injured workers under the law.Rafael Gonzalez, a past section chair who monitors legislative activity for the section, said while bills will be filed, it’s not likely they will be as far-reaching as last year’s legislation.“I don’t think they’re going to touch attorneys’ fees and I don’t think they’re going to touch worker benefits [this year],” Gonzalez said. “They would like to give the changes that were passed last year a year to two [in operation], because they think they will eventually see something positive.”But Sen. Skip Campbell, D-Tamarac, said major changes could happen, especially if evidence continues that last year’s bill is having little effect on rates.“I believe everybody is saying it is broken,” he said. “We’re going to consider anything and everything that will fix it.”Rep. Kim Berfield, R-Clearwater, chair of the House Insurance Committee, said that both the House and Senate are working on new bills.Major efforts will focus on the Joint Underwriting Association, or JUA, and the process for setting workers’ comp rates, she said. Because of last year’s legislation, the JUA is forecasted to lose $34 to $36 million this year, while last year lawmakers had many questions about how rates are set and the lack of accountability for some numbers the state uses in determining rates.Berfield said a joint legislative committee has looked at rate-setting and a bill is being worked on, probably to be introduced by Sen. Jeff Atwater, R-Palm Beach Gardens.The JUA will be a higher profile issue, Barfield said, since “they are looking at a potential deficit of $36 million by the end of the year.”The JUA is made up of “subplans” for different types of businesses, and the problem is for Subplan D, which helps smaller businesses.The House and Senate each have reserved funds to help with the expected deficit, but neither has nearly enough, Berfield said. At the moment, she said bills are being looked at that would encourage private carriers to pick up some of those companies.Some senators, Berfield said, are interested in pursuing legislation based on the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee interim study.The report can be found at www.flsenate.gov/data/Publications/2004/Senate/reports/interim_reports/pdf/2004-110bi.pdf. More workers’ comp bills filedcenter_img March 15, 2004 Regular Newslast_img read more

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Woman arrested for stealing over $1000 elderly victim

first_img(WBNG) — The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office says a home health care aide was arrested following an investigation into theft Saturday morning. Wyckoff was employed for the elderly victim between August and October 2019. Authorities say in September 2019, Wyckoff stole a credit card from an elderly, “ailing” victim and spent over $1000. The sheriff’s office says 31-year-old Brandi A. Wyckoff of Delhi, N.Y. was charged with grand larceny in the 4th degree, a class E felony, and three counts of petit larceny, a misdemeanor. The sheriff’s office says Wyckoff was arraigned in the Town of Delhi Court and released on her own recognizance.last_img

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